Streamsong Resort (Bowling Green, Florida)
Florida has more than 1,250 golf courses – the most of any state in the country – but 1,248 of them feel more or less the same: flat terrain, palm trees, a few ponds, carts buzzing by with retirees. The exception is Streamsong, a futuristic dreamscape of heaving, bright, white-sand dunes situated atop an abandoned phosphate mine halfway between Tampa and Orlando. "When you get there, it's a Wizard of Oz moment," says Mike Martinez, a businessman from Massachusetts. "You have a feeling you're not in Florida anymore." The resort's two 18-hole layouts – whose understated names, Red and Blue, reflect Streamsong's minimalist aesthetic – were designed by architects (Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw, and Tom Doak) known for leaving the land alone. Both encourage a style of play recently returned to fashion: navigating tricky angles on tight fairways, as opposed to blasting down 600-yard holes. Creative shot-making is what's called for here – and a caddy to help you read the greens' crazy contours. "They know the course better than you," says Streamsong's director of caddie services, Chip Brooke. "Trust him when he says the putt breaks right, even if you're convinced it should go the other way. It'll help you play with conviction." Finally, truly challenging, innovative golf has come to the Sunshine State.
Stay here: Streamsong's 228 rooms are tricked out with rain showers and floor-to-ceiling windows. Other amenities include a European-style, six-pool spa; four restaurants; and activities like bass fishing and skeet shooting. Stay-and-play packages from $575 per person per night, including breakfast and 36 holes of golf.